The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs have announced that they will return the iPhone 13 phones which the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government gifted to all the 200 Rajasthan MLAs after presenting the state budget 2022-23.

The Opposition party lawmakers decided to return the gift as the high-end phones will be a “financial burden” on the state exchequer. 

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According to Times Now, a single iPhone 13 costs above Rs 70,000.

Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia confirmed that his party’s MLAs will return their iPhones.

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In a tweet, Poonia said, “After discussion with Gulab Kataria Ji and Rajendra Ji and other legislators, it has been decided that all the BJP Rajasthan MLAs will return the iPhone given by the Congress government keeping in view the financial burden on the state government.”

Meanwhile, in 2021, the Congress government had gifted I-pads to all the 200 MLAs after tabling the budget.

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The Rajasthan government presented its Budget 2022-23 on February 23 after which all the MLAs were given a briefcase with an iPhone 13 at the time of exit.

On the issue of giving iPhones to all lawmakers, a ruling party MLA said, “The assembly is going paperless and the effort is to make members of the house hi-tech”. Rajasthan PHED Minister Mahesh Joshi also echoed the sentiments, saying the high-end phones will help make the system paperless and MLAs hi-tech.

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BJP MLA Vasudev Devnani said that it is good that the Rajasthan government has decided to go paperless and become hi-tech, but spending such a huge amount on phones, “that too when the state’s economy is in a poor shape, is not justified”.

BJP has 71 MLAs in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly.